What Are Your Thoughts on Whole Brain Teaching?

Day 7 of SOL19

I am always looking for new ideas or ways to improve teaching reading and writing in English to the ESL kids in my school, who come from very poor backgrounds in an isolated community with limited vocabulary (in their own language) where very few literacy aids are available. Our school is in northeast India and has 60 students from KG class to Class 5.

Recently I came across Whole Brain Teaching during an Instagram search and thought it looked like it offered some good ideas (you can just #whole brain teaching in a search and there are lots of videos if you need to check out what I’m referring to). There was even one illustrating the elements of storytelling with actions which looked useful and the kids seemed very involved.

Has anyone tried this method with success, particularly if you have students that are ESL or hard to engage?

I am trying to introduce fresh concepts of learning with understanding to my teachers, who are all local and have themselves been educated only to learn by heart and copy from the board. It’s all quite different to them, so I need to innovate slowly, slowly! They are often hesitant to  do things like lead songs themselves, so we regularly use downloads from the internet…

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The kids totally love using actions and it definitely helps their understanding.

If we have visitors, I invite them to teach the students (and their teachers) a drama or song or some other method of creating movement in the classroom. Recently two girls who visited the school, directed  an action version of  ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’.

Here they are going through the swishy swashy grass!

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If anyone has any ideas or links to good websites, I would really appreciate your input! I’m on a steep learning curve here and now I’ve introduced writing into the curriculum, I definitely need whatever meaningful resources I can lay my hands on!

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Thanks in advance for any feedback!! I do love the interaction between slicers, I’m learning so much!

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4 thoughts on “What Are Your Thoughts on Whole Brain Teaching?

  1. If by “whole brain teaching” you mean physical movement to accompany learning, yes. This is a staple of drama, and it translates well into learning English, and probably other things. For example, I teach students to learn material for oral interpretation w/ gestures. I teach students performance techniques for studying short stories and drama. I’d suggest contacting the Folger Shakespeare Library for information about upcoming training. They offer an intensive summer workshop as a NEH funded option every other year. You can also look into other drama training, such as improvisation. And apologies if I’m off the mark here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I want to know more! I have read just a little bit about whole brain teaching, and it sounds really interesting and connected closely to play-based learning, which I’m passionate about. I’m not sure what grade you teach, but Katie Wood Ray’s book Already Ready has great ideas for emergent readers and writers – not specific to learning a second language but lots of drama and play. Also Purposeful Play, and Choice Time are two really great books about play-based learning that are recently published and reflect the latest most up-to-date thinking! Good luck!

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